Here is the Press Release that we have issued today – we ask that the government hold on changing the legislation and that they offer Islanders an authentic consultation process.
The attached 1 page backgrounder will provide the reasons for this request
For Immediate Release
February 26, 2008
PARENTS FOR CHOICE & QUALITY ISSUE
RECOMMENDATION TO MINISTER CURRIE
CHARLOTTETOWN – Parents for Choice & Quality recommend to Minister D.W. Currie, Department of Social Services and Seniors that any changes to the Child Care Facilities Act/Regulations be put on hold until a more comprehensive review of the issues and their potential impact on this critically important matter can take place. This would include a more authentic community consultation process, in addition to a review of such issues as why PEI is the only province in the country with a Child Care Facilities Board; and why the provincial government is considering allowing this structure the latitude to refuse licensing applicants who qualify.
“Our group has grown quickly since it became clear that the Act may be changed in a way that would limit parental choice and possibly impact the quality of child care in PEI.” said April Ennis, Co-Chair of Parents for Choice & Quality. “After hearing from countless parents, child care professionals and concerned citizens we feel confident in recommending that any changes to the Child Care Facilities Act/Regulations be put on hold until a properly designed community consultation process has been completed. The current consultation process is not sufficient. We welcome the opportunity to come to the table and work with the Government in a productive and collaborative manner.”
“We have heard from Minister Currie that he wishes to broaden the consultation process and we support that concept.” said Robert Paterson, a concerned citizen and well known Island blog writer. “The entire Child Care Facilities Act and Regulations should be thoroughly examined and ample time must be allowed for this work to proceed; it is not something that can be rushed through if we are concerned about enhancing the quality of child care in PEI.”
Parents for Choice & Quality is making this recommendation based on concerns that they have identified related to the following areas; lack of proper community process to date, the potential for conflict of interest from certain members of the current Child Care Facilities Board, the great variance in levels of quality in current child care facilities across the Island, the lack of infant child care spaces currently available and the fact that limiting spaces really means limiting choice and quality. Further information can be found about these issues in the attached Backgrounder.
Parents for Choice & Quality are a group consisting of mothers, fathers, grandparents, child care centres, industry professionals and concerned citizens of PEI that has grown quickly because the current consultation process was designed in reality to limit informed input. The group is working to ensure that parents get the choice and quality that they deserve for their children. A website has been established by the group at http://www.choiceandquality.com as well a Facebook group called PEI Child Care Facilities Act and Regulations; which now has in excess of 150 members.
For Immediate Release
February 26, 2008
Quality & Choice– The stated assumption of the ELOPEI (Early Learning Operators of PEI) and the Department of Social Services is that limiting the number of spaces will create quality. There are 3,000 children on PEI under the age of 24 months. There are 72 licensed child care spaces available for these children. Are 72 spaces sufficient to meet the needs of all of the mothers/fathers who have to go back to work after maternity and parental leave? There are centres that have spaces and there are centres with waiting lists – what does this say about quality? What does this say about the risks of limiting the spaces to the existing centres? How does limiting the number of centres help employees?
Quality and Conflict of Interest– Daycare and Kindergarten on PEI are owned and operated privately (both private and non-profit). We have to remember that. When has limiting competition given the public or employees better quality? Why should the interest of private operators stand ahead of parents and children and the society of Prince Edward Island? Why should child care operators have access to a Board that licenses their competitors? Is this not a conflict of interest? No other province has such a Board that sits between the regulations and the public. What then is the true aim of this Board?
Quality & Risk–We are at risk of not getting the quality that we need if we act too early, before we know what is best. The opportunity now is to look authentically at what we have and then what we really need and then change the Act.
Quality and Authentic Consultation– To define quality and to get the best system, we need a consultation process that can define true quality. The process of consultation offered to the people of Prince Edward Island so far cannot be justified in a democratic
society. There was already an attempt in the Fall to pass changes to the Act. These changes would have limited child care spaces. This occurred with no public input. The changes to the Act were delayed so that a better consultation process could be set up. This has not happened. Very limited time and no context have been offered to the key stakeholders or the general public. Even the recent time extension given does not
compare with other Acts under review; such as the Child Protection act which has a process of months. As important as the time extension is, without the proper context or risk analysis being made available it is virtually impossible for key stakeholders or the general public to provide informed input.
Parents for Choice & Quality are a group consisting of mothers, fathers, grandparents, child care centres, industry professionals and concerned citizens of PEI that has grown quickly because the current consultation process was designed in reality to limit informed
input. The group is working to ensure that parents get the choice and quality that they deserve for their children.
A website has been established by the group at http://www.choiceandquality.com as well a Facebook group called PEI Child Care Facilities Act and Regulations; which now has in excess of 150 members.